as if eyes were lobster crackers
and safety was a word that didn’t
work, like “pineapples” became a
joke and so did the girl who belonged
too strong to not go insane.
mostly you don’t even notice it. our
heads go prowling while we wash
the porcelain dishes or stir the pots
or drive the cars or listen to white
women talk about sisterhood.
sometimes the crack is noticed.
a babalawo will look at your miniskirt
and ask you why you are so
unstable and you always keep
a different number.
so you smile and position your voice
two octaves higher and you’re a little
girl again whose shell has been
cracked and your only defense is nice.
vacant. You have immediately
vacated your own body in deference
to an Authority.
and your girlfriend is watching. Angry
watching you shrink your average-height-
for-a-man frame. Angry that you flinch at
a hint of an old man’s disapproval
and you couldn’t tell this woman whose
blood is so royal that five hundred years
ago in benin they cast her face in bronze
so she would be remembered when she
walked back across the ocean
are sometimes absolutely terrified. and that
you are also so Angry that you curl
up like a bantu knot every time
someone looks at you with
lobster cracker eyes
so you both order a rum and coke
and forget about what is not said.
Joy KMT is self-taught & queer & black & femme & hood & poet & mother &l over &. Her poetry has appeared in Amistad: Howard's Literary Journal, Black Girl Dangerous, Backbone Poetry Journal, The Feminist Wire, Pluck! the Affrilachian Journal of Arts and Culture, and others. www.facebook.com/KMTjoy